28 August 2010

Learning styles

I've come across a couple of interesting (to me, at any rate) quizzes on learning styles - hat-tip to my blogging friend Richard Fairhead at God-Word-Think: Learning styles:
Why is a Sunday church meeting so screwy to me? I have been looking at learning styles and done a couple of inventories:

Unlike Richard, I don't relate them to Sunday church meetings, because I don't regard those meetings as primarly educational. I don't go to church to learn things, or to be entertained, but to worship. But there are educational gatherings and events, and so it is quite interesting to know this stuff.

For the first, mine says:

      Results for: Steve Hayes

11 9 7 5 3 1 1 3 5 7 9 11
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11 9 7 5 3 1 1 3 5 7 9 11
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11 9 7 5 3 1 1 3 5 7 9 11
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11 9 7 5 3 1 1 3 5 7 9 11
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  • If your score on a scale is 1-3, you are fairly well balanced on the two dimensions of that scale.
  • If your score on a scale is 5-7, you have a moderate preference for one dimension of the scale and will learn more easily in a teaching environment which favors that dimension.
  • If your score on a scale is 9-11, you have a very strong preference for one dimension of the scale. You may have real difficulty learning in an environment which does not support that preference.
The scales are:


  • Active learners tend to retain and understand information best by doing something active with it--discussing or applying it or explaining it to others. Reflective learners prefer to think about it quietly first.
  • "Let's try it out and see how it works" is an active learner's phrase; "Let's think it through first" is the reflective learner's response.
  • Active learners tend to like group work more than reflective learners, who prefer working alone.
  • Sitting through lectures without getting to do anything physical but take notes is hard for both learning types, but particularly hard for active learners.

  • Sensing learners tend to like learning facts, intuitive learners often prefer discovering possibilities and relationships.
  • Sensors often like solving problems by well-established methods and dislike complications and surprises; intuitors like innovation and dislike repetition. Sensors are more likely than intuitors to resent being tested on material that has not been explicitly covered in class.
  • Sensors tend to be patient with details and good at memorizing facts and doing hands-on (laboratory) work; intuitors may be better at grasping new concepts and are often more comfortable than sensors with abstractions and mathematical formulations.
  • Sensors tend to be more practical and careful than intuitors; intuitors tend to work faster and to be more innovative than sensors.
  • Sensors don't like courses that have no apparent connection to the real world; intuitors don't like "plug-and-chug" courses that involve a lot of memorization and routine calculations.

Visual learners remember best what they see--pictures, diagrams, flow charts, time lines, films, and demonstrations. Verbal learners get more out of words--written and spoken explanations. Everyone learns more when information is presented both visually and verbally.


  • Sequential learners tend to gain understanding in linear steps, with each step following logically from the previous one. Global learners tend to learn in large jumps, absorbing material almost randomly without seeing connections, and then suddenly "getting it."
  • Sequential learners tend to follow logical stepwise paths in finding solutions; global learners may be able to solve complex problems quickly or put things together in novel ways once they have grasped the big picture, but they may have difficulty explaining how they did it.
The ones that seem to be most pronounced in me are the Intuitive and Global styles, which I suppose goes along with being INTP on the Myers-Briggs scale.

What gives me most pause for thought about this, though, is that when I've marked student assignments in the past, I probably have had a bias towards the Intuitive/Global students, and tended to give them higher marks than the Sensing and Sequential learners. How much is that my bias, or perhaps a bias that the subject (Missiology) requires? Perhaps I have a sub-conscious feeling that the Sensing and Sequential learners should be learning to make tables or something.

And for the other quiz, my result was

Memletic Learning Styles Graph:


Richard said...

People talk about going to church to worship, but what do they mean by that? When growing up people used to say 'worship is expressing the worth-ship of God'.

I looked up worship online: The Greek term latreia and its cognates are directly associated with both service & sacrifice when directed toward God. The Greek word proskyneo refers to a posture of submission and thus an acknowledgment of God's sovereignty.

That kind of fits with my understanding: I serve my Lord during the week and submit to His rule in my life and hence I worship God through the week - from Monday to Friday my whole day is directly related to service of God.

So what of Sunday? The components of a Sunday service are: saying words, singing songs and listening to a talk. Doesn't jive with being worship to me.

Isaiah 58 puts it as:

'6 “No, this is the kind of fasting I want:
Free those who are wrongly imprisoned;
lighten the burden of those who work for you.
Let the oppressed go free,
and remove the chains that bind people.
7 Share your food with the hungry,
and give shelter to the homeless.
Give clothes to those who need them,
and do not hide from relatives who need your help.'

James in his epistle says similar - worship is shown by deeds. We are not saved by deeds, but good deeds are our worship.

So do we need to gather together? Absolutely. Is Sunday gathering worship? For some people yes, for others maybe and for yet other no.

The Scylding said...

Interesting Steve - I also did the test, and was almost identical to you!


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